NCAA Nearing Vote on ‘Name, Image, & Likeness’ Proposal

The NCAA’s Division I Council introduced groundbreaking legislation earlier this month that, if approved by the Indianapolis-based association at large, will bring money into the pockets of some student-athletes. The council says the proposal would give a green light for student-athletes to earn money from what’s become known as NIL: Names, images and likeness. Mike DeCourcy, college basketball writer for The Sporting News and analyst for the Big Ten Network, says recent moves by certain states forced the organization to move quickly.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Sports Host Bill Benner, DeCourcy said the proposal covers two separate elements.

“One is the student-athlete-run business, especially with the advent of social media. We have seen athletes who have been able to create YouTube businesses, other social media, Instagram-type businesses and have occasionally run afoul NCAA regulators with that and the NCAA, in the new legislation, will say, ‘That’s fine,'” said DeCourcy. “And then the second element is the one that seems the most obvious and common, which would be endorsements.”

DeCourcy says the endorsement element will be more complicated to regulate because of conflicts between the student-athlete’s desire to endorse a particular product and products that already have an exclusive arrangement with their university. Additionally, there will be questions of how involved boosters could be in recruiting student-athletes for endorsements.

“We know that, for certain athletes, that’s going to be a lot of money. We don’t know exactly how widespread it’s going to be, but I think it’s going to have a really strong impact on how college sports operate,” said DeCourcy.

DeCourcy adds the NCAA legislation was spurred on by individual states such as California and Florida, which are looking to pass their own bills on the issue.

“They forced the NCAA to say, ‘Okay let’s get this going,'” he said. “They really need the federal government, the NCAA does, to adopt what the NCAA is doing to some extend so that they can do two things: One, supersede the state regulations…and then the other is the idea that the NCAA doesn’t want to be sued because their regulations aren’t generous enough or that they restrict a particular area or whatever. So if the federal government were to legislate, then at that point (the NCAA) wouldn’t have to worry about getting sued either in the future or from past actors.”

The NCAA is expected to vote on the proposal in January and DeCourcy expects the organization to approve it in some form.

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